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Working with God

Monday, 9 February 2015


(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 7, 13 February 2015)


God is always working through love and it is up to us to respond to Him with responsibility and in the spirit of reconciliation, which gives way to the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis addressed this invitation during Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of Santa Marta.

The Holy Father began his reflection by referring to a passage from Genesis (1:1-19). “Today’s Liturgy of the Word leads us to think, to meditate on the works of God: God works”. In fact, “Jesus Himself said: ‘My Father still works, still acts, still operates; so do I!’”. And in this way, the Pope pointed out that “some medieval theologians explained: first God, the Creator, creates the universe, creates the heavens, the earth, the living beings. He creates. The work of creation”. However, “creation is not the end: He continuously supports what He created, works to sustain what He created in order that it continue”.

In the Gospel of Mark (6:53-56), the Pope indicated, “we see ‘the other creation’ of God”, namely “that of Jesus who comes to ‘re-create’ what has been ruined by sin”. And “we see Jesus among the people”. Indeed, Mark writes: “‘when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him, and ran about the whole neighbourhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard He was’. And those who touched Him were saved”. This is the “re-creation”, and “the Liturgy expresses the soul of the Church in this, when the beautiful prayer is said: ‘O God, that you created the universe so wondrously, but more wondrously you created redemption’”. Thus, “this ‘second creation’ is more wondrous than the first, this second work is more wondrous’”.

There is then, Francis continued, “another work: the work of persevering in the faith, which Jesus says is done by the Holy Spirit: ‘I will send the Paraclete and He will teach you and remind you, He will make you remember what I have said’”. It is “the work of the Spirit within us, to keep the word of Jesus alive, to preserve creation, to guarantee that this creation does not die”. Thus “the presence there of the Spirit, who keeps the first creation and the second alive”.

In other words, “God works. He continues to work and we can ask ourselves how we should respond to this creation of God, which was born from love because He works through love”. Thus, “to the ‘first creation’ we must respond with the responsibility the Lord gives us: ‘The earth is yours, foster it; make it grow!’”. For this reason, “we too have the responsibility to make the earth flourish, to make creation flourish, to safeguard it and make it flourish according to its laws: we are lords of creation, not masters”. And we mustn’t “take control of creation, but foster it, faithful to its laws”. Indeed, “this is the first response to God’s work: work to safeguard creation, to make it fruitful”.

From this perspective, the Pope continued, “when we hear people hold meetings to consider how to safeguard creation, we could say: ‘No, they are green!’”. Instead, he suggested: “they aren’t green: this is Christian!”. And this “is our response to God’s ‘first creation’, it is our responsibility!”. In fact, “a Christian who doesn’t safeguard creation, who doesn’t make it flourish, is a Christian who isn’t concerned with God’s work, that work born of God’s love for us”. And “this is the first response to the first creation: safeguard creation, make it flourish”.

But, Pope Francis asked, “how do we respond to the ‘second creation’?”. In this regard, he said that “Paul the Apostle tells us the right word, which is the true response: ‘Let yourselves reconcile with God’”. This, he explained, is “that open interior attitude for going constantly on the path of inner reconciliation, of community reconciliation, because reconciliation is Christ’s work”. And Paul also says: “God has reconciled the world in Christ”. Thus, “to the ‘second creation’ we say: ‘Yes, we must let ourselves reconcile with the Lord’”.

Francis then posed another question: “And to the work that the Holy Spirit does within us, of reminding us of Jesus’ word, of explaining to us, of making us understand what Jesus said: how do we respond?”. It is again “Paul who tells us” not to grieve “the Holy Spirit who is within you: be attentive, he is your guest; he is within you; he works within you! Do not grieve the Holy Spirit”. And this is “in order that we believe in a personal God. God is person: He is the person of Father, the person of Son, the person of the Holy Spirit”. After all, “all three are engaged in this recreation, in this re-creation, in this perseverance in re-creation”. Therefore, our response to all three is “to safeguard creation and make it flourish, to let ourselves reconcile with Jesus, with God in Jesus, in Christ, each day, and do not grieve the Holy Spirit, do not push him away: he is the guest in our heart, the One who accompanies us, who makes us grow”.

In conclusion, the Pope prayed that “the Lord give us the grace to understand that He is at work; and give us the grace to respond rightly to this work of love”.


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